Bangladesh cricket: The golden age?
A historic Test win unlike no other for bangladesh
Facing a formidable Australian side, there was just one second of brilliance that a confident Bangladesh side needed. The second David Warner departed, the hosts found a breather and, from that moment, did not hesitate to take advantage of it.
Romantics among the cricketing audience certainly held on to some hope of Australian brilliance up until the very end. It was Australia after all. One of the strongest batting line ups, at least on paper, seemed to crumble in front of a fiercely determined Bangladesh squad.
However, that does not, of course, imply that the hosts had it easy. In a very sharp twist that correctly befitted the enormity of Bangladesh’s win, there was a period of good cricket and that came in the form of Pat Cummins. He took Australia well within their desired target and, at one point, the team needed just 21 runs to win. But the strong resolve of Bangladesh clearly had other plans.
The current cricketing scene in Bangladesh seems to have undergone a complete change in the past decade. In fact, within the South Asian subcontinent. A curve of development that started back in 1974 seems to have reached its pinnacle now.
Back when it all started
Back in the late 1970s, Robin Marlar’s Whither Bangladesh? first raised the possibility of Bangladesh making an appearance on the international stage of cricket. The Bangladesh Cricket Board definitely took notice of this as from then on started to be on the lookout for as much international exposure as possible. Things further escalated when the MCC toured Dhaka for the first time in 1977.
In fact, the MCC has contributed a lot towards laying the initial foundational stones for cricket in the country.The first constitution of the Cricketing Board was drafted after consultations with the more experienced administrators of the MCC. Later that year, the first match was played between the stalwarts of MCC and the erstwhile squad from Bangladesh. The match attracted nearly 40, 000 people.
Fast-forward back to the current generation of cricket in the country. Till a year back, the Tigers had defeated only two of the major test playing nations. After yesterday’s win, that number has risen to five. Zimbabwe, England, Sri Lanka, England, and Australia have all fallen prey to the mighty time and the team themselves have risen through the ranks to establish a certain amount of competitiveness.
The tough Lankan team of the 90s
This cumulative progress can be best compared to Sri Lanka in the mid-1990s. Under the very capable hands of Arjuna Ranatunga, international cricket in the small island nation underwent a very strategic change. The team of that era definitely had names that stood out. Aravinda de Silva, Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan’s presence in the team put Sri Lanka on the cricketing map. In fact, Muralitharan’s stints generally roused fear among batsmen and his bowling attack was quite lethal. However, it would be quite wrong to write off the current Bangladeshi team.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Test cricket in Bangladesh is flourishing under the tutelage of from Sri Lankan player Chandika Hathurasinghe. Hathurasinghe played Test cricket for the Lankan team during its golden era and it is quite natural that he would be imparting that knowledge to the squad he is currently in charge of.
The brilliance of Shakib Al Hasan
Perhaps the player who is the most well-known face of Bangladeshi cricket is erstwhile captain Shakib al Hasan. Before the encounter with Australia in their most recent series, Shakib had proudly proclaimed that the series would end in a whitewash in favour of the hosts. And before that, all that the team had to their credit was a terrible record of nine Test wins in 17 years. To his credit, Shakib’s words were backed up by a terrific performance. He put up a total of 84, thus rescuing his team from the rut they were stuck in after losing 3 wickets for a mere 10 runs.
Over two innings, he picked up the double figure of 10 wickets. Perhaps that is what took the cock-sure Australians by surprise.
A systematic attack on Australia’s under-performing middle order and a comprehensive team effort led this Bangladesh team to script history. But for this upward curve to continue, it is important to maintain this kind of momentum relentlessly. Test cricket is a dying format, predominantly because of the lack of money, viewership, and sponsors. Bangladesh has been a challenging team in the limited overs format. It just seems like